How To Pick The Best Ceiling Paint

What’s the best ceiling paint?

How do I go about picking it?

Picking the best ceiling paint doesn’t need to be hard.

Today I’ve broken down some tried and true ceiling paints you might want to consider for your own project.

white is the best ceiling paint on family room coffered ceiling

How To Pick The Best Ceiling Paint

This post first appeared here in early 2019, but I’ve updated it with some relevant and interesting information.

What color should I paint the ceiling?

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately.

So, I thought I’d address it again here today!

Choosing the right ceiling paint color can be tricky.

In the home improvement world, this topic doesn’t seem to get discussed enough.

But since I often get so many questions about ceiling paint colors, I’m more than happy to write about them here today.

When I picked the colors for our ceilings in my home, I looked at probably hundreds of photos and paint swatches to find the best ceiling paint for the different rooms in my house.

It was overwhelming how many choices there were!

Looking back there were too many options, and I didn’t need to spend my time on all of them.

I’m here to tell you you don’t need to look at a lot of different options and you don’t need to make yourself crazy over this.

So many of the questions I receive are concerns over wall paint colors.

Then the very next thing people want to know is “what color should we paint the ceiling?”

What Color Should I Paint My Ceiling?


Personally, I think  a white ceiling is never a bad look.

So, the easiest answer is to always go ahead and paint the ceiling white.

It should be in the same shade of white as the trim and walls (IF your walls are white.)

I’ve written before about my top white paint colors for walls.

I prefer to see a flat finish white latex paint on the ceiling with a semi gloss finish on the trim, to set them apart just a little bit.

Walls look best in a matte finish.

You can read more about which paint finish to choose here.

My personal “go to” wall and ceiling color is Benjamin’s Moore’s Decorator’s White.

In fact, we tend to use this popular wall color A LOT.

example of white flat ceiling paint in a gray room

Flat ceiling paint or glossy finish? 


The way the light hits your ceiling will create the illusion that the white you chose for the ceiling is a bit different.

In the example above we went with a flat finish in Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White.

This coordinated nicely with the gray paint in this room, which is Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist.

You can find out more about my favorite gray paint choices with examples in this post.

So, you should opt for a flat finish (which is sometimes called a matte finish) or an egg shell finish.

In other words, the least glossy finish is best for most ceilings.

Sometimes, in a smaller space, you can opt for a very high gloss ceiling.

We’ve done it in our powder room and it looks great.

A little ceiling drama can really lend itself to the overall style of a space.

glossy blue ceiling

The glossy blue ceiling in our butler’s pantry.

How to choose the best ceiling paint color for your room.

white ceiling paint on front entry ceiling

But, maybe you don’t want to go with white.

If you’re looking to paint your ceiling a color to make it really pop, I’m very partial to a light blue ceiling.

Or, as it’s known in the south, Haint blue!

This charming ceiling paint tradition looks so great in a living room or dining room.

haint blue painted ceiling in living room

In fact, we went with this light blue look on my living room ceiling (seen above) in our butler’s pantry ceiling (in a high gloss, because it’s a small space) and in my master bedroom.

We love this look so much!

a great light blue ceiling paint blue color swatch

We chose Benjamin Moore’s Morning Sky Blue.

I’m a big fan of Benjamin Moore’s quality and the color selection of this company.

The key to using colors on the ceiling (or anywhere really) is adding different amounts of white paint.

This is a great tip I learned from working with professional designers on my own home.

Any paint store can mix a color with fifty percent white (they often call this “halfing” it.)

You can even do less than half, it’s up to you.

You don’t need to use the paint color exactly as it comes in the can.

This is so freeing!

I strongly suggest playing around with different paint samples on the ceiling – using different amounts of white paint mixed in.

It’s also important to test the paint color samples in both natural light and at night with the lights on and off!

You can see the difference lighting can make on an interior paint color in this post on Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace.

It’s amazing how different even a simple white paint color can look in different light settings.

white painted slanted ceiling with sunlight windows

This brings me to another great tip I got years ago for the ceiling paint job in our Vermont condo.

Because there’s a lot of wood paneling and the walls are painted a warm tan color, I knew white ceilings would look way too harsh in our living room here.

I was told to add some of the tan paint wall water based color to the white paint for the ceiling.

This is sort of the opposite effect of adding white to a color.

This technique adds a subtle tint to the paint.

Exactly what was needed in the space!

The quarter tan added to the all white paint warmed the room right up!

Warm, white, coordinated perfection!

More of this ski condo, with walls painted with Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan.

Best Textured Ceiling Paint


I almost forgot to add this important detail.

In our Vermont condo we were dealing with popcorn ceilings at the time.

It was a bit expensive, but we paid extra for our contractor to remove the popcorn ceilings.

He then went on to skim coat them to make them smooth, before we went ahead with the latex ceiling paint and primer here.

Once he applied the primer and several coats of paint, it was like a new room.

I’m so glad we did this!

white painted double height ceiling

Remember less is more.

So, in conclusion, don’t make yourself too crazy when it comes to picking a ceiling paint color.

You don’t even need to use special ceiling paint!

As discussed above, regular paint in a flat finish is all you need for a beautiful ceiling.

When you’re facing design choices for your home improvement projects – remember, less is always more.

Limit your options to the ones I discussed above and I promise it will look amazing!

We tend to use a lot of Benjamin Moore paint colors in our house – this paint offers beautiful coverage.

They have a great reputation and so many lovely colors.

And, before I commit to any paint color, I always get a few samples and test it out in various lights.

Samplize makes these clever adhesive paint samples in every color you can imagine!

adhesive paint sample

I swear by these Samplize samples.

If you’re still looking to add a bit more oomph to your ceilings, I highly suggest checking out this post I did on wallpapered ceilings!

And, if you’re considering painting your basement ceiling tiles, all of the above tips still hold true.

I hope this round up of ceiling paint colors was helpful!

Tell me what ceiling paints you love in the comments below.

Good luck!

Don’t miss this post on the three best white paints to use on trim and baseboards!

And, while we’re talking about trim, this piece is super informative all about wainscoting.

I’ve already answered a popular inquiry on which paint finish to choose in this post, just in case your wondering:)

And, just recently covered the best kitchen cabinet paint choices after so many of you asked for this!

UPDATE: as of 1/5/21 – based on popular demand, we also now cover the most popular kitchen cabinet colors which aren’t white or beige!

Interior and exterior, we’ve got you covered!

So, if you’re looking for the best white exterior paint colors, this post is for you.

A few more things…

Design lovers! Have you joined our fun and VERY helpful design Facebook group?

In this group – members share photos with their design questions and dilemmas from their own home.

We all chime in with our best advice!

We also share our best sources and tips – so it’s great for those hard to find items and pieces.

Lastly, to help you even further with your home dcsign projects, download my FREE DESIGN CHEAT SHEET because I know you’re going to find it SO helpful!

It’s loaded with all sorts of quick tips and handy measurements.

Click here to grab that, because it’ll be super helpful!

iphone with designe cheat sheet pdf on it itThe Zhush handy design cheat sheet – I recommend you keep it on your phone as your easy cheat sheet for all the correct design and decor measurements you’ll ever need!

PS: Be sure to PIN THIS IMAGE below – because this way you’ll have all this info conveniently saved for your next home improvement project!

pin image for how to pick the best ceiling paint

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